08/23/2017 3:13PM

Marks: Hambletonian was off the common path from a breeding perspective

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Lisa Photo
What The Hill was the only Muscle Hill-sired trotter to make the Hambletonian Final.

While Hambletonian 2017 will go down in history as the first ever running of the American classic race for 3-year-old trotters to have featured a disqualified winner in What The Hill, also included were several other unique pedigree circumstances that we just don’t see every day.

For openers, not one starter was sired by Cantab Hall, generally considered the second leading trotting stallion behind Muscle Hill.  The latter meanwhile accounted for six of the 19 elimination starters but not one garnered a check in the Final. Amazingly just one of the six Muscle Hill-sired elimination starters made the Final, he being the disqualified winner What The Hill. 

It might also be noted that What The Hill contested the final heat minus the trotting hopples he wore in the first heat and in addition raced without shoes.

For the first time in recent memory, two starters – International Moni and Victor Gio IT – qualify as European sired with Victor Gio IT being European bred as well having been foaled in Italy. He is by the current overseas sensation Ready Cash, the sire of this year’s Prix d’Amerique winner Bold Eagle.  International Moni is by the highly successful French bred stallion Love You, a son of leading European sire Cocktail Jet who is also the broodmare sire for Shake It Off Lindy, that one by Lindy stallion Crazed.

It should be remembered that the 2001 Hambletonian Champion Scarlet Knight was bred, foaled, raised and sold on these shores then exported to Sweden where he trained and raced prior to returning for the Hambo.   

Whereas younger mares tend to dominate stakes races with their produce, especially those arriving within their earlier foals, this year a number of “seasoned veterans” got into the act.

For example, Devious Man is the 12th foal of Miss Garland, she a foal of 1990 and thus a spry 27 years young as this is written. Devious Man, who was foaled when Miss Garland was 24, is a half-brother to the 2005 Hambletonian Champion Vivid Photo, that one foaled in 2002 when Miss Garland was a mere 12.

Then there’s Dover Dan, an Andover Hall son of the brilliant CR Kay Suzie. That well remembered amazon was foaled in 1992, making her 25 as this is written. Obviously not a prolific breeder, Dover Dan is but her sixth live foal from a breeding career that commenced in 1998.

We mentioned International Moni as having a French sire in Love You. His dam, the immortal Moni Maker, was foaled in 1993 and would’ve been 24 if she hadn’t passed away in 2014. International Moni is her 10th foal and there is one more, a current 2-year-old named American Moni via her first meeting with the dominant sire Muscle Hill. American Moni qualified at the Red Mile last Thursday, finishing third behind older horses in 1:57 2/5. He starts from post 2 in the third race on August 17, a $30,000 leg of the Kentucky Sire Stakes over the same track.

Southwind Woody, a son of Muscle Hill-Winky’s Star, is kind of a unique story in that the dam, a foal of 1996, was empty since 2009 before foaling Southwind Woody in 2014. Despite her 21 years, Winky’s Star, a Pine Chip daughter of the great Winky’s Gill, has accounted for just five foals in her less than prolific breeding career.

Other than a first-time ever disqualification and some older “gals” getting in the act, it was a relatively normal Hambletonian.         

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